Coffee addiction can really add up! But there are ways to have your cup and drink it too. Here are 9 tips for saving money on coffee.
Obviously, the best way to save money on coffee is to give it up altogether but if that sounds like a terrible idea, here are nine other ways to enjoy coffee on a budget.
Despite being the symbol of financial decadence and irresponsibility (especially if you order it with avocado on toast), I, like millions around the world, like a good cup of coffee.
I also like saving money. These can be conflicting desires.
Which do I like more, coffee or saving?
Well, if you ask me on Sunday night, I would say saving money.
If you ask me first thing on Monday morning, I would say coffee. Definitely coffee. Coffee coffee coffee. Coffee. Coffee.
So can you have your cup and drink it too?
Yes you can!
Below are nine ways to save money on coffee.
While making your own coffee at home is number one on the list because the savings are so significant, it’s not the only way to save money on coffee.
If you still want to support your local cafes, I’ve included eight other ways to save while drinking out.
9 Ways to Save Money on Coffee
It’s important to note that saving money doesn’t have to be all or nothing. While abstaining from coffee might save you a lot, you don’t have to never buy coffee to stick to your budget.
A realistic balance for you may be combining multiple ideas below to maximise savings and minimise any feelings of deprivation.
For example, you might buy coffee once or twice a week, use a reusable cup and a loyalty card when you do, and bring coffee from home the rest of the time.
Check out the ideas below to see which ones you can make work for you.
1. Make great coffee at home
Nothing fancy. Not mug size or grande size. No syrups and cream and spice. Just your basic cup for $4.
Assuming you buy one cup a day, that adds up to $28 a week or $1,460 a year.
Below is a cost comparison table comparing a standard cafe flat white with a few at-home coffee options and the potential savings that can be made by switching to home-brewed coffee.
Making coffee at home isn’t the only way to save money on coffee but it’s the most significant way to save money short of giving it up altogether.
Some notes on the cost comparison table.
First, why didn’t I include a coffee pod machine?
Because of the waste. The coffee options in the table are ‘relatively’ less wasteful compared to pod machines.
Second, it’s possible to save way more money if you buy coffee on sale, use less milk or drink your coffee black etc. I’ve tried to keep the comparisons similar to make them as fair as possible. Your actual costs will differ depending on these variables.
And of course, it assumes one cup per day. If you drink more than that, double or triple (or more) the costs accordingly.
Home Brewed Coffee Cost Comparison
As you can see, you can save significant amounts of money by making your own coffee. And that’s based on just one cup. If you’re buying two or more cups per day, the savings can be thousands of dollars a year!
If you’re going to make coffee at home, an insulated coffee mug or thermos is a wise investment. Make your coffee in the morning, take it with you in a cosy insulated vessel and you’ll still have hot coffee when you arrive at work.
Want more tips on making coffee at home? Check out the articles:
- Four Frugal Ways to Make Great Coffee at Home Without a Machine
- How to Make Instant Coffee Taste Better Than You Ever Thought It Could
2. Drink free coffee at work
If your workplace supplies coffee then you can drink the free stuff and save.
If your workplace doesn’t supply coffee, another alternative is to invest in a portable coffee maker for the office like a French Press (this one is insulated for coffee that is hotter longer) or an AeroPress.
The AeroPress makes a seriously good cup of coffee and while there’s an initial upfront cost of around AU$50, it pays for itself after just 14 cups of coffee (compared to a $4 flat white). You can even get a travel version that comes with its own mug.
3. Shop around for a cheaper cuppa
It’s possible to get a cheap coffee at the servo that tastes almost as good (or sometimes just as good) as a cafe cuppa but for a fraction of the cost.
Look, we’re a bit spoilt. Australia has the best coffee on the planet. So even a crappy $1 coffee from the servo (that’s a gas station for non-Aussies) is still a good cup of joe.
Sure, you’re missing out on Daniel’s fancy latte art. But if you’re chugging that stuff down in traffic to avoid workplace somnambulism, it’s not the time to savour coffee art anyway.
Leave Daniel’s foamy heart art for when you have the time to savour it.
4. Loyalty cards and subscriptions
Save money on coffee by getting the tenth cup free.
Many coffee shops use loyalty cards to keep you coming back for their special brew and while it’s not going to save you huge amounts of money, using a loyalty card can add up.
If you buy coffee everyday, then getting every tenth cup free at $4 a cup will save you $146 a year.
If you combine using a loyalty card with other saving strategies like brewing coffee at home and only buying coffee out twice a week, you’ll save an extra $41.60 on top of your other savings by getting every tenth cup free.
5. Bring your own mug
Some cafes give discounts on coffee if you bring your own reusable mug. It’s a win-win because they save money on the disposable coffee cup and you save money (and the environment) too.
A fifty cent reduction on a four dollar daily coffee habit can save you $182.50 a year. Pair this saving tip with others in this article to maximise your savings.
6. Ask for coffee gift cards
Are your family asking what they should get you for your birthday or Christmas? Don’t really need anything?
Why not suggest a gift card to your favourite coffee shop.
Everyone wins with a coffee gift card. Your family will be happy they are giving you a gift you will use and appreciate. And you save money on coffee.
Another option is to purchase gift cards at a discount and save money that way.
7. Drink less and savour more
There are two problems with takeaway coffee.
The first is the waste created by takeaway cups – an estimated 1 billion cups a year in Australia alone!
The second less obvious problem is that we drink coffee distracted. We chug down what is essentially a luxury item while walking, working, texting or shopping without even noticing we’re drinking it!
It’s a problem that we can’t take five minutes out of our day to enjoy a cup of coffee that we’ve spent good money on.
If you’re paying for a coffee, take the time to enjoy every mouthful. Savour it. Drink less and enjoy it more.
If you’re drinking coffee just to get through the day with some semblance of consciousness, then the cheaper stuff does the job for less.
8. Look For freebies and specials
Check out the Facebook pages of your favourite coffee shops to see if they do specials, freebies or happy hour.
Some coffee shops also have apps where you can get discounts and coupons.
Another place to look is shop-a-dockets and coupon papers and coupons in free local newspapers and tourist information sheets.
Finally, new cafe openings can sometimes give free coffees or discounted coffee to entice customers and it’s always nice to score a freebie.
9. Use online coffee vouchers
These are usually part of a coffee and cake or coffee and brunch combo so it’s a good option if you’re looking to save some money on a weekday breakfast or morning tea. You can save up to 50% off the regular retail price.
Keep an eye on the offers because they change all the time and just coffee offers pop up from time to time.
If you buy a coupon online, save even more by using a cashback site to get a further cashback on your purchase.
Coffee dependence doesn’t come cheap but there are ways to enjoy your favourite brew without blowing the budget.
Combine several tips above to get the biggest savings without feeling deprived.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.